Looper (2012) – 8/10 time-travel thriller movie review

Cast / crew
Writer and Director: Rian Johnson
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Joe
Bruce Willis: Old Joe
Emily Blunt: Sara
Paul Dano: Seth
Noah Segan: Kid Blue
Piper Perabo: Suzie
Jeff Daniels: Abe

Looper (2012)

Thirty years from now, time-travel will be invented and immediately outlawed. Thanks to the difficulty of disposing of bodies in the future, time-travel becomes the exclusive domain of criminal organisations who send targets back in time to be shot on arrival by loopers. Eventually, all loopers know that they must close the loop, that is, their last target will be themselves, sent back from thirty years in the future. When Joe is to close his loop, a momentary hesitation allows his older self to escape and embark on a mission to change the past.


If it had a bit more style and swagger this character-led time-travel action movie could have been an out-and-out classic. As it is, what’s there is jolly good with an excellent character arc. A selfish assassin is confronted with opportunities to be less selfish. Bruce never takes them (even though it looks like he has thanks to his late-life love, his character is ‘I want, I want’ all the time, even then, and consistently does anything to get what he wants), Joe does gradually and eventually. The movie stumbles when it hits the unavoidable paradox moment all time-travel stories have (when Joe doesn’t shoot Bruce, then does, then doesn’t again; what is happening is we are switching protagonists for a while, but not actors or, exactly, characters) but, despite the confusion, we soon get back into the plot. There are a lot of great moments (a door set high in a wall seemingly just for one joke banging a goon’s head; the brilliantly, horrifically gruesome fate of an escaped looper conveyed without gore or violence; ‘You know there’s another waitress who works weekends. Her name’s Jen.’; scurrying into a safe during a tantrum; a mother diving to save Joe not her son; Emily Blunt remembering she’s got a penis outside), the story is strong, Pierce Gagnon (the child) is fully evil, Bruce’s targets are unexpectedly killed and he probably doubles his movie bodycount in just one year with this and The Expendables 2.

This movie contains sexual swear words, adult dialogue and fictional substance abuse and strong, graphic violence, gory and unpleasant scenes and sexuality, nudity.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.


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